Updated: Jan 4, 2021
Since the snow seems to be following Larry, we decided to get out of Banff early. We headed toward the Okanagan Valley. It’s supposed to be the warmest place in Canada this time of the year. It’s climate is much like Sonoma County and is known for their orchards and vineyards. Larry’s second cousin Don Fehr lives is Kelowna with his wife Lori. We wanted to stop in for a visit while we were in the area
I got to drive the first shift out of Banff in the light snow. Larry thought it would be good practice for me. It wasn’t too bad. The Trans Canadian highway was a great road and made for easy driving. I drove to Shuswap and then gave Larry his turn. I did get to drive up and down some narrow windy roads for a bit. We stopped at the Enchanted Forest but it was $12 each and I was too cheap to pay. It looks really cool, especially for kids. Next time.
I looked up a provincial park at Lake Kalamalka that said it had camping. We were wrong when we got there and the gates for the park closed at sunset. We met a really cool local named Mick from England, who said we could probably just camp in the parking lot. He showed us around the park and let us know that they had 3 black bears in the area.. While we were walking around the lake, I spotted a number of large poop piles. Thanks to a Google search, I confirmed it was Bear Poop!!!
We got all settled in the parking lot, I made something delicious for dinner and we ate inside. At dusk, I was looking out the window to the other end of the parking lot, where we had just walked 20 minutes earlier and spied a 200 pound black bear!!! I grabbed my camera and he/she posed for a couple of good shots. I went directly back inside and the bear wandered back into the bush. So freakin exciting!!
We didn’t get kicked out of the parking lot by the ranger and had the most restful sleep that I’ve had on the road so far. It was amazingly quiet. Next morning, we did a short 3 mile hike up Rattlesnake Point Trail to get a 360 degree view of Lake Kalamalka. It was very pretty and I wished it was warm enough to swim. The temperatures here were only in the low 70’s. I was hoping for better.
We moved around the lake to Kekuli Bay Provincial Park for the next 2 nights. The campsite was on the hill will a great view of the lake. We called Don and since he was off on Monday, invited us over for dinner(lunch). They had a lovely house up on the hill overlooking the Kelowna International Airport. I especially loved their backyard. They have lived here for 20 years and have 3 children. Their two sons have graduated and their daughter in still in high school. Don works as an aircraft structural mechanic at the airport. He gave us a backstage tour on Wednesday night. Lori is a fantastic hairdresser. She was able to fit me in her schedule on Wednesday morning. Thank Goodness!! They were the nicest couple and I enjoyed our time with them immensely. Don gave us some great ideas of places to see while we were in the area. He also told us of the very nice provincial park on Lake Kelowna called Bear Creek. We stayed there for 3 wonderful nights. It was right on the lake and by a creek too!! The Provincial parks in Canada that we stayed at were all very nice, clean, great showers, free and very green.
While we were in Kelowna, we went on a couple of great hikes. One across from our campground that had 400 steps up and 400 stairs down. We got great views of the canyon, waterfalls, river and the lake in about an hour! We also hiked to see Paul’s Tomb on Knox Mountain. It was on the other side of the lake and we could see our campground while we were hiking. Don and Lori took us into the Bush to cut down a dead tree for firewood. In Canada, it’s legal to cut down dead trees and clear out the fallen trees. Their daughter has a small firewood business too!
One of my favorite activities was our bike ride at the Myra Canyon Trestles. It’s free!!! It is the historic Kettle Valley Rail Trail from an old train line that goes along the Myra Canyon. We rode about 6 miles out and back across 18 trestles and 2 tunnels. The old train tracks were at 4000 feet and the views were amazing. We went from the sunny side to about 73 degrees but ended on the shady side and found some snow from a few days past. That was super chilly and we weren’t prepared. We had to pull down our sweatshirt sleeves but I still froze! All in all, it was great!
We had to find our first laundromat and that was a fun experience. I tried to get Larry to help but he had more fun in the rolling laundry baskets. We decided not to make dinner that night and got pizza and wine. It was a full day. Don and Lori came by our campsite in the evening for a beer and to say goodbye and wish us luck on our journey. Lori even gave us gifts. Fabulous neck warmers!!! Yeah for Kelowna Valley adventures and for Don and Lori Fehr!!
Love you guys!